Urbanization in sixth wave: Modular construction methods in renovating office buildings to apartment buildings

Urbanization in sixth wave: Modular construction methods in renovating office buildings to apartment buildings

In the recent years urban development has changed hierarchy of the cities rather quickly. There is an urgent need for more apartments but at the same time office buildings are getting empty and useless. It is an instant task for designers to meet the challenge. Modular building methods are recent innovations in construction branch. These methods have been applied in new construction but there is hardly any experience of those in renovation.


The project presents a new kind of application of modular building method that can be seen as one solution for the current problem mentioned above. The project contains a construction plan made for an old office building that was located in Hermanni, Helsinki. This building used as a laboratory was built in 1980`s and demolished in 2013 because of economical reasons. The plan focuses at factory produced moduls which will be attached to the structures of an old building.

In the theoretical point of view the transformation of the society and architecture is observed under four major forces that are changes in lifestyle, recovery in economy, innovations in technology and challenges in ecology.


But Is there a real need for this method? In the projejct the question will be answered by placing and observing it in a wide historical and social frame.  The theoretical core of the study is future studies and so called Kondratieff theory. According to the theory society`s development is cyclic. The cycle always ends by a similar kind of crisis. New innovatons lead to a new cycle; new kind of thinking and way of living. On basis of Kondratieff theory it can be seen that at the very moment in western world we live the end of the crisis and transiton time between the cycles. Because of architecture reflecting the society in many ways the new cycle is about to begin also in construction.Kuva effects

Future Opportunities

The main observation of the project is that modular methods are very usable in renovation as well as in the new construction. Utilisation of modularity might be a one way to produce cost-effective and sustainable renovating in the future. Because of Finnish office buildings being very homogenous the methods could be used in majority of them.

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